Parish Giving Scheme gathering pace

A NEW scheme is helping to refresh and revitalise regular giving to churches in the Diocese of Oxford.

So far 130 churches have signed up for Parish Giving and another 138 have an expressed an interest.

The national scheme has been rolled out in the Oxford Diocese with the help of Jonathan de Bernhardt Wood, our generous giving advisor. He believes the scheme’s success is down to encouraging congregations to reflect on both the theology of living generously and the importance of the work their churches do to support their communities.

“It’s asking people to reflect on what they give and why they give and highlighting why churches need greater financial support. It is helping people understand where the gap is and what could be achieved with more donations,” says Jonathan.

One parish that signed up after Jonathan gave a presentation to their PCC was St Peter’s, Wolvercote.  “50 per cent of those who give regularly have switched to the new Parish Giving Scheme, plus another eight people who hadn’t committed to regular donations before,” said Peter Bridges, parish stewardship promotor for St Peter’s. “Others may well convert from giving by standing order to PGS in time. The PCC decided to sign up for PGS because the more we looked at the way the system operates, the more we realised how beneficial it was for both the donors and the church.

“They don’t have to worry about contacting their bank if they want to change their giving or stop it for a while. They just ring Parish Giving, and it’s done. This is advantageous because many banks are closing local branches and, particularly the elderly find phoning the bank and changing a standing order quite difficult. People joining PGS can opt to have their pledge increased annually by inflation and some 42 of our donors have done this. The advantage of this is that such pledges do not diminish in value through inflation as church costs rise.

“Preparing and submitting Gift Aid submissions to HMRC is time-consuming

Jonathan de Bernhardt Wood. Photo: Jo Duckles

but with PGS they do it for you and the tax rebate comes through to the church some 14 days after the end of the month.

“When our renewal campaign was launched on April 21 the PCC targeted an increase in giving of 30 per cent. The increase achieved was 36 per cent.”

Jonathan said another benefit of the scheme is that it doesn’t rely on church attendance. “People can still give without turning up to church. They are giving because the importance of their donations has been communicated well.”

For more information click here or call Julie Jones on 01865 208288.